The college football season has officially arrived, and I know you all are just as excited as I am.
I will be glued to the tube tonight when South Carolina hosts North Carolina, and this weekend’s games should be even more entertaining.
Florida won’t have many — if any — visitors from the class of 2014 for its season opener against Toledo, but a pair of 2015 prospects plan to attend.
Jacksonville Trinity Christian linebacker Jeffery Holland and Albany (Ga.) Westover defensive tackle Trent Thompson, who are ranked No. 5 and No. 13 overall in the ESPN Junior 300, will be making their second trip to UF in just over a month after visiting for Friday Night Lights.
On to the questions!
With all of the negative press that UF has received in the past few months, do you think it will trickle down to the recruiting world? I’m assuming that other coaches are using this to their advantage, especially with parents. — Chuck
If most of the negative press had involved current Florida players, it would have definitely had an impact on recruiting. The major news, however, came from former players.
Aaron Hernandez’s murder indictment and Riley Cooper’s racial slur are obviously serious matters, but they don’t really have anything to do with the people in Florida’s football program now. Pretty much all of the prospects and parents I’ve talked to told me the issues with Cooper and Hernandez don’t change the way they feel about UF coach Will Muschamp or the school, and nor should it.
These were isolated incidents involving players who were at Florida four years ago under a different coach. Recruits and their families care about what’s happening with the current staff and team.
Raekwon McMillan is probably going to Ohio State and UF needs at least one LB in this class. Who’s a dark horse? — James
I agree with both points. McMillan has been a strong lean to the Buckeyes for awhile, and even if he does go elsewhere, it doesn’t sound like it will be Florida. Although the Gators get his final official visit (Nov. 30 for the FSU game), they are currently fourth on his leaderboard behind Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama.
As I indicated last week, Dwight Williams, who visits UF the same weekend as McMillan, is probably Florida’s best chance at landing a linebacker. The position isn’t a priority because the Gators signed four last year, but they need to bring in at least one prospect for 2014.
As for a dark house candidate, I would say River Ridge (La.) John Curtis linebacker Kenny Young. He will likely end up at LSU, but UF is in his Top 10 and vying for an official visit. If he ends up taking a trip to Gainesville, there’s always a chance.
I heard DE Lorenzo Featherston is a Clemson-Florida battle and the Gators are his dream school and favorite team — Tamayo
Featherston is a hard fellow to get a read on. The Greensboro (N.C.) Page prospect never answers his phone and doesn’t have much to say in person.
He was at UF in June and walked away impressed with defensive line coach Brad Lawing. The visit seems to have improved UF’s standing, and it does sound like a Clemson-Florida battle, but the Tigers are considered the favorite for him.
Featherston has said he plans to return to Gainesville, so maybe a return trip could shake things up some more in his recruitment. But I ultimately see him staying in the Carolinas for college unless Lawing can really work his magic.
Which RB does Florida have a better chance of pulling, Joe Mixon or Bo Scarbrough? — Devin, Bluffingtown J, Jimmie
First off, let me say I don’t expect either to come to Florida at this time. Mixon will be hard to pull away from the west coast, and obviously Scarbrough is an Alabama pledge. Mixon is uncommitted and has scheduled an official visit to UF for the Tennessee game, but I actually think the Gators have a better shot with Scarbrough.
He recently moved from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) to Bradenton to play at the IMG Academy for his senior season. This puts less pressure on him to attend the hometown school, and it allows him to attend some UF games given the closeness to Gainesville. His cousin, tight end C’yontai Lewis, being committed to Florida helps as well.
But after being a no-show for Friday Night Lights, I won’t believe Scarbrough is serious about UF until he comes to campus multiple times.
I have been a little concerned with this class because in recent years we have seen staff turnover affect us in recruiting. Is there any chance with this group of future gators that a position coach or coordinator leaving could make recruits flip? If any which ones? — Ky Gator
In my opinion, the assistant coaches who could potentially leave UF are offensive coordinator Brent Pease for a heading coaching job and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson for a defensive coordinator position. The only prospect who would be affected by Pease is quarterback Will Grier, and I just don’t envision him decommitting.
As for Robinson, his loss would be a big blow to the class. He is the lead recruiter on seven of Florida’s 15 commits. Robinson recently received a raise and is probably in line for another, so I doubt he makes a move after this season. But should that happen, Planation cornerback Chris Lammons is someone who might go elsewhere because of his relationship with Robinson.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!